Fstoppers Reviews the Phottix Mitros TTL Speed Light
The Phottix Mitros TTL Flash was announced in early 2012 but saw another full year of development before it was finally officially released in March of 2013. That kind of time spent building a product really resonates with me, and I was expecting a finished product that was going to stand up to the rigors of daily use. I was not disappointed.
Phottix has a tough task ahead of them. Being a relatively new player in the market as a third party brand, they will have a hard time building up the kind of widespread acceptance its competitors have. In order to grow and make that next big jump into success, they absolutely must release quality innovative products. While the Mitros might not offer anything truly new to the speedlight industry, without a doubt it is a quality product that performs nearly as well as the industry leaders.
When you first pick up the Mitros, you immediately are reassured by how solid it feels. A few years ago when I watched speedlight attempts by third party brands come into the market, their main issue was just being flimsy and unable to withstand real-world use over an extended period of time. Sure, they were cheap as all get-out, but they didn’t last nearly as long as a more expensive model from Canon. You get what you pay for, as the saying goes. But as the years have gone by, brands like Phottix have really been pushing to produce higher quality products, realizing that was the only way they were going to carve out sales against the fully entrenched market leaders. I like to believe that is why the Mitros took so long to develop and then finally release. Phottix knew if they released a vastly inferior product, they weren’t going to sell them.
The flash head has a 180 degree rotation and a 97 degree tilt. That basically means you won’t have to worry about positioning the head; it will point where you need it in pretty much any situation. The Mitros has a flash coverage of 24-105mm using auto or manual zoom, functionality that has pretty much become standard these days. Some other basic but important information:
- Channels: 4
- Wireless options: OFF, Master, Slave and Optical Slave
- Transmission range (Approx.): ( Indoors:12-16m/39.36-52.48 ft., Outdoors: 7-9m/22.96-29.52 ft., Reception angle:±40°(horizontal)，±30°(vertical)
- Controlled slave groups: 3 (A, B, and C)
- Flash ratio control: 1:8-1:1-8:1
- Standby current: ≤100uA in sleep mode
- Dimensions: (L x W x H): 202.8×77.5×58.3 mm
- Weight: 427g (flash only, excluding batteries)
The Mitros has a guide number of 58/190 (at 105mm focal length, ISO 100 in meters/feet), which is the same as the Canon 580EX II.
I normally like to avoid comparisons in reviews, but I’ll make an exception here because it’s important to see how it stacks up to the industry leader, being priced much lower than the Canon equivalent. The Mitros was just a hair slower on the recycle rate at the higher power settings. By that, I mean about half a second. Down at the lower quick flash settings, the recycle rate was identical. It also seems to very effectively dissipate heat, never struggling to keep up with continual flashes at maximum power (neither did the Canon flash, but that is certainly expected). I did not test the Mitros with any sort of external power source (as it is compatible with a Phottix Battery Pack and Canon compact battery pack CP-E4 through an adapter), so I would be cautious if you plan to use a battery pack as even though it seems to handle heat dissipation well, everything has its limit. Battery consumption was about even with the Canon 580EX II as well.
The Mitros operates pretty much how you would expect. It has a ton of functions and you will have to play with it for a while to get comfortable with operating it. Once you get a handle of how to access all the functions, it’s a breeze.
I’m traditionally a “Manual Mode” shooter, having learned from a strictly manual standpoint. If you want to use this flash for TTL shooting (which honestly would be the only reason to buy a TTL flash like the Mitros), it works absolutely flawlessly with the Phottix Odin trigger system. If you set up groups of these flashes in a studio, you can operate them all from the one master trigger system. You can pair, group and change settings all from one place and operated on one LCD screen. What’s more, it’s extremely easy. My issue with some TTL trigger and speedlight combinations is that it’s hard to tell exactly what you’re doing. With the Odin and Mitros combination, you get a screen that shows all the groups and the power settings for each. Extremely useful if you don’t have an assistant or don’t want to be pacing around your setup trying to get everything where you want it. This is a massive time saver.
The Mitros also supports High Speed Sync, which is something I know many of you desire in your speedlights (and studio strobes for that matter). Using High Speed Sync with the Mitros is extremely simple. You can control it all from the Odin trigger system or if you have the flash directly connected to your camera. In addition to High Speed Sync, you can also program the Mitros to fire on the first or second curtain, which is nice but not unexpected.
The Mitros will accept traditional sync cables as well as USB and external power (as mentioned previously), but don’t go into it expecting PC- it won’t accept it. That means if your trigger system absolutely requires a PC cable, you’re going to be out of luck. Does this bother me? Not particularly. Though it sucks that it won’t connect with some mainstream triggers or light meters that demand PC, PC is a dated connection system that is notorious for failure. I never use PC, but if you do just keep this in mind.
A common complaint, and one I totally understand, is that the Mitros does not have any sort of wireless trigger system built in. It has slave, which you can use with ETTL, but it’s still a bummer that Phottix did not include the TTL receiver in the body of the flash. It would cut out another expense and really tip the scales in favor of Phottix, who already has a great master TTL trigger system in the Odin.
What I liked:
Functions, including HSS and ETTL
Connectivity with Odin system
What could use improvement:
No built-in wireless receiver
No PC sync port
The Mitros is an excellent first go-around at the speed light for Phottix, and it would be an excellent third or fourth try as well. It’s clear they spent a lot of time and effort making a product that was reliable. It’s great when something just works, and the Mitros does that for around $200 less than the Canon 580EX II, that’s a bargain in my book. Phottix also has nailed the TTL trigger/receiver and it works beautifully with the Mitros. As a stand alone TTL flash, it’s one of the better I’ve used and competes well with the Canon 580EX II. It’s not better, but it’s a darn close competitor.